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Uneven Infection Prevention Policy Compliance in U.S. ICUs

THURSDAY, Feb. 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There is considerable variation in the infection prevention and control practices in intensive care units (ICUs) across hospitals in the United States, according to a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

Patricia W. Stone, Ph.D., from Columbia University School of Nursing in New York City, and colleagues surveyed a national sampling of 975 hospitals enrolled in the National Healthcare Safety Network (excluding Veterans Affairs facilities) regarding the presence of evidence-based infection prevention policies and clinician adherence to these policies.

Based on data from 1,534 ICUs, the researchers found that there was an average of 1.2 infection preventionists (IPs) per 100 beds. Across institutions, there was variation in the certification of IP staff, and the average hours spent on data management and secretarial support per week were generally low. Variation was also noted in the presence of policies and clinician adherence to these policies. Health care-associated infection (HAI) rates were similar for respondents and nonrespondents.

"Guidelines for IP staffing in acute care hospitals need to be updated," the authors write. "In future work, we will analyze the associations between HAI rates and infection prevention and control program characteristics, as well as the implementation of and clinician adherence to evidence-based policies."

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